Cary-Grove won the state title a year ago. But where does Steve Soucie have them slotted in the 2019 playoffs?
Cary-Grove won the state title a year ago. But where does Steve Soucie have them slotted in the 2019 playoffs? — Shaw Media file photo

Projecting the state playoff field before the season begins is definitely a fools exercise.

And you’ve got a perfectly qualified fool right here.

The process used for this exercise is a three-year win model. And before you decry relying specifically on the last three years results to determine what happens in the future as impossibly imprecise consider this: on average there are less than 25 teams that enter the playoff field that were not playoff teams the year previous. In a 256-team field, there is typically less than 10 percent turnover.

Past success USUALLY predicates future success.

But like any prediction model exercise, there are some blind spots. For example, consider the fact that last year’s Class 5A state champion, Joliet Catholic, is not in the projected field, largely due to fact that the Hilltoppers had limited success in the two years previous to their championship and lost four games in its state title year.

This exercise uses the enrollment numbers for the 2019-2020 school year (which will also apply for 2021-22 season as well) detects the 256 schools most likely to advance to the playoffs based on past performance. It also breaks the classification numbers out for each grouping, with some interesting bubble teams between the classes.

Two schools are assigned to the success formula with IC Catholic moving from Class 3A to Class 4A and Nazareth moving from Class 6A to Class 7A. Loyola would have a success formula applied if they were not already in the highest classification.

The new application for the multiplier waiver means some teams are found in classifications you would not expect them to be. Most notable among them are St. Rita (Class 5A), Belleville Althoff (Class 2A) and Chicago Simeon (Class 6A).

The “playing up” application has been applied to Chicago Phillips with the assumption that they would elect to continue playing in Class 6A, while the “playing up” application for East St. Louis has been removed as the Flyers conference, the Southwestern, has indicated it won’t allow teams in its membership to play up. East St. Louis has voluntarily played up in Class 7A for several seasons, this projection has them as a Class 5A. If not allowed to play up, East St. Louis will hover around the bubble of 5A and 6A.

Subscribers: Get a look at Soucie's full bracket projections here.

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